In The Lineup
The Rockies signed Yonder Alonso to a minor league contract and assigned him to AAA. Alonso was DFA'd by the White Sox after both failing to lure in Manny Machado this offseason and then hitting .178 over 67 games this year. Anyone in Colorado makes things interesting but they Rockies already have enough trouble getting at-bats for their good players.... Yadier Molina is going to miss up to three weeks with a thumb injury. Matt Wieters should get a lot of playing time this month for the Cardinals... Matt Carpenter was activated off the 10-day IL on Friday. He missed just eight games with a back strain, and he'll look to rebound from his disappointing first half over the summer months.... Teams are reaching out to the Marlins about second baseman Starlin Castro ahead of the deadline. This could clear the way for Isan Diaz to get called up to the majors. Diaz ranks as MLB Pipeline's sixth-best Marlins prospect and he's having a strong season in AAA with a .289/.386/.560 triple slash and 20 homers.... Corey Seager has been activated from the IL and Matt Beaty was sent to AAA as the corresponding move. Beaty showed some nice skills over his time in the majors with a .278 average while slugging .407..... Josh VanMeter was sent to AAA.... Martin Prado has started a rehab assignment with High-A Jupiter.... AJ Pollock rejoined the Dodgers on Friday after missing the last few months with an infection in his right elbow. Pollock could be a big boost to fantasy lineups down the stretch, but the fear of injury for him is definitely looming overhead.... Ender Inciarte has moved to AAA on his rehab assignment. I still have no clue what the Braves do with Ender once he needs to be activated, as trading him seems like the most likely route but then the Braves would have no one in the majors or really AAA to cover CF when Ronald Acuña needs a day off.... Corey Dickerson remains out of the lineup on Friday, but is available to pinch-hit for the Pirates.... Willson Contreras was held out of the lineup Friday, but it was just to give him an extra day of rest after participating in the All-Star Game this week... Eric Gonzalez strained his hamstring while he's on his rehab assignment for his injured collarbone.... Logan Morrison signed a minor league deal with the Phillies after being granted his release by the Yankees.... Jay Bruce sat out on Saturday with some soreness in his achillies but he's listed as just day-to-day. Scott Kingery moved over to LF for the game and Roman Quinn was in center field.... JT Realmuto is back with the Phillies after missing just one game while on paternity leave.... Scooter Gennett was a late scratch on Friday but luckily it was unrelated to his groin injury that he has spent the majority of the season rehabbing, rather this time he just was feeling sick...
In The Rotation
Max Scherzer was placed on the IL with a back strain but the team is hoping he'll be able to return on July 20th when he is first eligible to return to the team.... Both Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard are both reported available in trades by the Mets, but the team is only going to look to deal with them if they are blown away by an offer. In both cases, it would be selling low on a player that they have control over for multiple years. Zack Wheeler still remains a strong candidate to be dealt by the July 31st deadline, and going to a better team could fuel him for a second-half breakout that his stats already indicate is coming.... Matz had recently been shifted to the bullpen but he's going to return to the Mets rotation on Wednesday in Minnesota.... Kyle Freeland is going to return to the Rockies Saturday. Freeland has had an awful season with a 7.13 ERA in the majors, which lead to him being sent down where he allowed 28 runs in 22.2 innings in AAA. His last start though was his best as he allowed one run over seven innings while striking out nine batters against a single walk... Kevin Gausman is continuing his rehab assignment and now is with Mississippi in AA.... Gio Gonzalez made his first rehab start on Wednesday and tossed two innings, allowing two runs on four hits. This was Gonzalez's first game action since being shut down in early June with a dead arm. He'll need a few more outings to get his pitch count and strength back up.... Despite the bone spurs in his elbow, Jake Arrieta is still scheduled to pitch this weekend according to Gabe Kapler. Arrieta has been meeting with doctors to determine if he's going to need surgery or not, but it appears that they say he's good to keep pitching. If I'm an Arrieta owner, I'm likely going to sit this Sunday out against Washington and monitor it from afar.... Cole Hamels is going to throw off flat ground Friday, which will be his first time throwing since going on the IL with his oblique injury... Alec Mills is going to be called up to start on Tuesday for what should be a spot start with the Cubs....
In The Bullpen
Will Smith and possibly even Sam Dyson both appear to be on the move by the trade deadline. If you want to speculate on saves in case they get moved, Reyes Moronta makes an interesting case to be the closer if they get dealt. Moronta has a 32% strikeout rate this year but also is walking an awful 11% of batters he's faced, not exactly what teams value in the 9th inning role. He does limit home runs well though with a 0.68 HR/9 this year..... Chasen Schreve was called up by the Cardinals on Thursday. Jordan Hicks was moved to the 60-day IL as the corresponding move.... Johnny Venters was placed on the 10-day IL for the Nationals with an undisclosed injury.... Keona Kela began his rehab assignment on Saturday... Matt Strahm has been moved to the bullpen for the Padres, and there's no indication on if this move is permanent for the rest of this season or not. Either way with a 5.42 ERA it's worth moving on here, especially with Kirby Yates entrenched as one of the premier closers in the league.... Amir Garrett will be out at least another week with his lat strain....
PLAYERS TO ADD
Sonny Gray, Cincinnati Reds - Sonny Gray has been exceptional over his last three starts allowing just three runs over 21.1 innings (1.27 ERA) and he owns a 1.98 FIP. Over that same span, he is recording a 33.8% K%, and that's being bogged down by a 25% K% in the first start over this three-game sample. Gray has gone with a heavier breaking ball approach as of late with both his changeup and fastball usage dropping by 4% each over these four starts, and those numbers have been injected straight into his other offspeed offerings. Now it also shows that his slider rate has dropped to 9% from 18% and his curveball has jumped to 37.2% from 23%, but my guess is that there are some labels on pitches that could go either way. Either way, Gray has noticeably shifted his approach on the mound recently and we are seeing some strong results coming out of it.
Caleb Smith, Miami Marlins - Caleb Smith has allowed three earned runs over 12 innings since returning from the IL and he's struck out a batter per inning over that span. Each start has had a blemish though as his return outing he ran into the strong Braves offense who tagged him for a pair of homers and then he walked five batters in the second start but did manage to escape with just two unearned runs to his credit. Smith's swinging strike rate has taken a small dip since returning to the majors but he's still sitting at 10% over that span which is definitely respectable and could lead to an even better run for Smith if that does take place.
Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals - Pretty much all closers need to be rostered in leagues and Martinez is still sitting out there in over 50% of ESPN leagues at the moment. He's picking up saves in back to back outings for Cardinals. He's sitting at over a strikeout per inning after striking out three of the four batters he faced in his outing Saturday night. Seeing him being able to work more than the traditional three out save is also excellent because it should speak to his ability too to potentially throw on back to back days as well.
Julio Urias, Los Angeles Dodgers - This add is for more deeper leagues because of his role, but Julio Urias is having an incredible run out of the Dodgers bullpen right now as he hasn't allowed an earned run since June 1st. After two shutout innings, Saturday his ERA is down to 2.36 and he has a 25% K% against a 7.7% BB%. In all this run is one unearned run over his last 18 innings pitched while allowing just five hits and striking out 17 batters. He's generating a ridiculous 31.7% soft contact rate in this span while also recording a 12% swinging-strike rate. It's tough out of the pen for him because he isn't really getting saves, wins, or quality starts but his ratios right now can be rosterable in the right situations.
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